[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Umbrella Academy Season 3.]
It was a roller coaster of a season for the Umbrellas, especially when it came to fatherhood for Diego (David Castañeda).
First, Lila (Ritu Arya) shows up with a kid she tells him is theirs. Then, she admits Stan (Javon Walton) isn’t theirs, though she is pregnant. And so when the Umbrella discover that in a world that has been reset by Reginald (Colm Feore) that they don’t have powers, Diego and Lila go off to live their lives.
Here, Castañeda discusses that finale ending, Diego and Lila’s complicated relationship, fatherhood, and the upcoming Poker Face.
Talk about filming that dance off in the premiere.
David Castañeda: The dancing was quite exciting and nerve-wracking, especially because I’d never done anything professional in terms of choreo and work with a dance choreographer, John Heginbotham. But having to do Zoom rehearsals and learn video tutorials of how to make the moves and obviously watching Footloose and understanding the rhythm and then going and actually doing in-person rehearsals was fun. And once we got on set, the dancing was supposed to be delayed for about another six weeks, I believe, because of COVID protocols and the providence of Ontario didn’t allow, I think, more than 10 performers. Because obviously the Sparrows and Umbrellas together, we were somewhere around 13 — 14, if you include Mom, Grace [Jordan Claire Robbins].
The dance got pulled back, and [it was], “instead of shooting it in three weeks, we’re actually shooting it tomorrow. So, freshen up.” Thankfully, as soon as we played that song and we did the first moves and Marcus [Justin Cornwell], who’s the leader of the Sparrows, starts to dance, you just watch it and start getting little chills on the back of your neck because we had worked so hard and to see it full in the flesh with all of us in the same room was exhilarating.
Courtesy of Netflix
It all stems from Diego’s mind, so what does that say about him? Considering we see Five’s [Aidan Gallagher] own experience seeing what he wanted …
That leaves it open to interpretation, but I thought there’s a fascination towards ‘80s music, ‘80s films — maybe Patrick Swayze, maybe a little Dirty Dancing, also Kevin Bacon, Tremors, all of these very nostalgic films — but at the end it made me think there’s a part of Diego that wishes he could just let loose. He’s so uptight and a part of me thinks, is he a little jealous of Allison [Emmy Raver-Lampman] for being an actress? Maybe he wants to be some sort of Broadway star, based on the moves that he has. So it’s beautiful to see that contrast.
So is that what he’s going off to do at the end of the season?
You know what, I really would hope so. [Laughs] Although I also would hope he maybe just works at a kitchen, making some tacos.
With who Diego is at the end of the season, what do you think he imagines just living his life to be?
I think a lot of the healing that happened throughout the season was obviously his own fear of being a father and based on his own upbringing, what he might feel might be the same thing he does to them, and so therefore having to close that gap between himself and his father. And so there is, I think, a clean break from Hargreeves at the end because now he understands that by being a father, the noise around his own insecurities about how people perceive him, especially Hargreeves, kind of dims. I do feel like him losing his powers doesn’t come as a huge shock, because now he’s going to be a father with Lila and that becomes more important. So I’m excited to see where that trajectory goes with him being a family man.
It’s really hard to imagine him without his knife skills.
Maybe he still sticks with some kind of knife profession, whether it’s a sushi chef or having a taco stand or I don’t know, maybe building his own knife brand.
Does Diego feel ready to be a father by the end of the season?
I think so. I think he’s more disappointed, not so much that Lila lied to him, but the fact that Stan wasn’t really his son. I feel like there’s a heartbreak in that and now the opportunity of him having one from scratch, his unborn son, I feel like there is a lot to unpack there. I think he’s ready, but obviously, no one’s perfect — [he still has] his temper, his antics.
He and Stan bonded, they had all those moments together, including over Klaus’ [Robert Sheehan] death, he thought as father and son.
Yeah. Well, obviously not on purpose though, that whole Klaus scene. One of the funniest lines, I think, in that whole sequence was when they’re having this emotional moment and Diego looks over at the cleaning products and just kind of goes off on him: “You were gonna dissolve the body. That was your behavior rather than come forward?” Which is such a Diego thing to do also.
Courtesy of Netflix
He definitely seemed like he could be their kid.
Diego and Lila are obviously complicated, given their history, but they are together at the end of the season. How’s he feeling about her?
He’s understanding that these two characters relate to each other more than they actually think or believe. I feel like there is a team-like behavior by the end that you feel like you can’t really separate them because they’re growing and they’re learning so much from one another, whether it’s on purpose or by their own selfish antics that they’re becoming better people and better partners within themselves towards themselves.
Does he trust her?
No, not at all. No, no, no, no, no. He doesn’t trust her, but he trusts himself with her, and I think that’s enough for Diego, to know that having her around is possibly for the better of everyone.
Courtesy of Netflix
What would it take for him to trust her?
I think once the baby comes out. Once that baby comes out, now we’re really tied together. And I know that you’re gonna love the baby as much as I love the baby, so we’re gonna be able to have one thing in common, which is the love of the baby goes first.
We keep seeing the Umbrellas separating and coming back together, and once again, they’re off in different directions at the end of the finale. How’s Diego feeling about his siblings?
There is a weird thing that’s happening when one becomes a family man that you just hope that your family stays close, but you’re not dependent on it. I feel like [for] Diego — compared to the second season or even the first season where he needed that anger and that angst to be there around his family and he kind of really, really loved that — there is some peace, I think, that comes from him maybe starting a new life and having his worry be more about Lila and the pregnancy and where this is gonna go and what world they live in.
How might this Diego, after what he’s been through and since he’s about to become a father, react when he finds out what Reginald is up to after this latest reset and what he did and who he did it for?
I don’t even know exactly what the hell is happening. I think for Diego, it’s more about assessing what the situation is. Is there another grandfather paradox happening? Are we good? Were we born in this timeline and also are there doppelgängers in this place and how do we stay away from them? I feel like there might be something to explore, whether it’s going and finding Stan in Germany and seeing how old he is and if he’s still alive, still exists. But then another part is, is there a reason to go visit your doppelgänger somewhere in Mexico? Where are they? Who are they? And to find out more about his upbringing and go deeper into his own cultural curiosity.
Courtesy of Netflix
Reginald is with his wife at the end. Do you think Diego, since he’s now becoming a family man, would be a little more understanding than he would’ve been in the past?
I definitely think so. I think about what he’s lost rather than what he’s gained, and I feel like he wasn’t holding onto much except his own mentality of I’m a vigilante. And going through this whole journey and seeing what Hargreeves has done for his own wife, I can see Diego understanding it only because now he, in the midst of all this loss, also has a family now.
What was your favorite scene to film of the season?
The dance was really fun. I loved the elevator scene with Klaus and Stan. I also loved the wedding, the bachelor [party], that was great. There’s a scene that Lila and Diego have where Lila tries to convince him to go to the bachelor party, I really enjoyed that scene, too.
What are your hopes for Diego in a fourth season?
I would really like to see him interact with a lot of people that speak Spanish and just see him out of his element in a different culture.
You also have Poker Face coming up. Is there anything you can share?
It’s a 10-episode series and it’s with Rian Johnson and Natasha Lyonne. They’re stacking the deck with the castmates that are coming in and playing. I can’t give you much, but I will say this: The scripts are phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve read scripts like this that are in its own genre and so just smart and the showrunners Lilla and Nora Zuckerman are just phenomenal writers.
The Umbrella Academy, Seasons 1-3, Streaming now, Netflix